Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of time and Error

18th November 2018


I'm writing this on schedule tonight in the strange knowledge that it won't be posted. Well, not immediately anyway, because Weekend Rails has been 'down' all day for reasons not yet determined, and probably won't be back until some time Monday.

Ah well, I hope you've waited patiently. Another new face at Tunstead last Monday, as fitter/welder Terry H joined us. It would have been awfully good if welding tackle had been available too, but it was needed elsehere on site and so I made use of his fitting skills to go through the various valves still attached to the air receivers. As originally (re)built, RS8 had a 'main' air receiver fed through a non-return valve then a secondary receiver through another non-return with the safety on the section between. The secondary air receiver was a dedicated brake valve supply and in those days a low-air protection system, or auto-emergency, was unheard of. Andrew and I had discussed this and agreed that the secondary air receiver would become our auto-emergency and the main air receiver would run brakes as well.

The original drawings - well sketches - did not also reveal the crude strainer fitted to the output side of the main air receiver which, on dismantling,  turned out to have an element completely split up one side anyway! As I said before, there were a number of deficiencies in RS8's pneumatics as originally built so these alterations are improving the original. Andy H continued his painting spree, including his new control handle (which didn't get fitted as it was still wet).

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As a caver extraordinaire, Andy has become first choice man to go into the pit and attend to things underneath.

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Once Greeny had joined, the crane was deployed to lift the loco so that the spring hanger bolts could be tightened up and the loco raised properly onto its springs. And here we hit a problem. The official buffer height today is 1054/1055 from rail level. But try as we might we cannot get the loco anywhere near. With the axleboxes fully down at the bottom of the hornguides the buffer level is about up to 970. Of course, the standard hasn't always been 1055, or rather, it hasn't always been a standard. We don't know whether Avonside built to a dimension around 965 (38 inches) or for that matter, whether RS8 at some time has acquired smaller wheels. We'll have to continue for now and address this further in due course.

Amongst other tasks completed was the compressor installed and oil ways connected, temperature sender to the Visutector connected, pipes from clutch cylinder through the cab bulkhead, and 8mm cables from the distriibution box back to the cab put in, using recovered materials from the temporary starting arrangement I used for test a year ago.

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Up in the cab the light swtches have been fitted, and the first of the electric gauges put into the instrument panel, complete with insulating layer to keep the grounded bezels clear of the insulated return loco. Pete C made a start on the clutch detection switch arrangement. They are all little bits, but progress is being maintained.

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On Wednesday Andrew had arranged with me to hang on for a van, whose driver would ring as he left his previous drop in Sheffield but who would probably be arriving about noon. He had on board 3 'Euro-stillages' which Andrew had acquired to continue tidying up loose bits and getting them into the Ferryvan.I envisaged heading down about 11.30, getting Charlie fired up and the train out the way so that we could unload round the back, but at 11.15 Andrew rang to say he had phoned to announce he was sat outside the gates. So much for best laid plans. I dashed down and got the three unloaded, leaving them out of sight as best I could.

Saturday was planned as another tidy-up day with shunt, so on arrival both Charlie and James were started up and after some shuffling the 12T box van and the MR bogie well wagon came inside. Off the bogie well came the Cummins 14litre engine destined to be the heart of Adolf.

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Out of the 12T box came some big lumps we threw in there earlier to clear floor space, and the Wickham frame was moved to enable the racking to go up into the box van, but not before I had trimmed down the tops of the uprights with a slitting disc so that it would clear the doorway without trying to limbo dance. Then we swopped the Ferry van for the bogie well, and transferred large lumps from pallets to the new stillages, before making sufficient additional space to get the lumps in that had come out of the box van and return the floor to, well floor. We had planned to get the engine turnover stand into the box van but that was a bit beyond us as was lifting the Cummins off its bed frame - time was not on our side, and the end-of-day shunt was completed only as dusk fell. With one important difference, the box van has stayed in so that we can get on with re-roofing, and I removed the lorry strapping that has held everything down for the last decade or two.

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Today I had a social task to perform so did not get down to the shed until after lunch. I spent most of the time starting on the electrical control board for RS8 - the black box that will go up in the left hand corner under the desk, and which appeared 3 weeks ago. Fitting 3 relay bases, umpteen terminal bolts, two fuse housings and an AVR is looking a bit 'tight' - I may bring the fuses out into a separate location. I'll show you more pictures after I've got a bit further on it.

So that's about it, short and sweet. See you next week, if the electrons are by then behaving themselves.

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